Charlie Ewell ’19 documents Mongolian music traditions

Spencer Klink

Charlie Ewell ’19 traveled to Mongolia this summer to document musical traditions of the Mongolian people through the HWGo! program’s summer fellowship.

Ewell travelled to the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region under the People’s Republic of China as well as Outer Mongolia. Some traditions Ewell focused on included throat singing and the morin khufu, a stringed instrument.

For his fellowship, Ewell created a video presentation documenting his trip and what he studied there, displaying various forms of traditional Mongolian music, mixed with nature shots and sporting events.

Ewell said he had prepared to attend a large sports festival known as Naadam, during which various horse racing, archery and wrestling events occur. However, Ewell said he could not attend because the Chinese government changed the celebration’s date to a later time, which also forced him to revise all of his plans.

“We didn’t get to see the Naadam festival, which we had planned the trip around,” Ewell said. “That was a big difficulty, finding things to do that weren’t part of the festival.”

While travelling, Ewell participated in a number of cultural activities each day, such as attending traditional Mongolian sporting events or visiting music institutes. Ewell said he noted various cultural differences between his life and those who live in Inner Mongolia.

“There’s a lot of culture shock at first,” Ewell said. “There’s nothing similar to what you’ve experienced at home.”